One of our Anaheim clients was approved for lawful permanent resident status in the Los Angeles Immigration Court this morning. This case has been pending for several years and involved some fairly sticky issues. Our client, who is married to US citizen, always maintained that he entered the country legally when he was an adolescent; however, he lost his passport and I-94, which would help prove his lawful entry. His prior attorney filed the adjustment of status packet with USCIS without proof of lawful entry. The prior attorney filed an I-102 asking USCIS to check it’s records to find the missing I-94 proof of lawful entry. USCIS responded that it did not find any evidence of the lawful entry, denied the I-485, and put the applicant into removal proceedings. USCIS approved the I-130 visa petition.
The client came to me after he received his notice to appear in immigration court, and I agreed to represent him. First, we tried to obtain a copy of the I-94 from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and even the Department of State (DOS), through Freedom of Information Act requests, but no one produced any records helpful to our case. Eventually, we were able to track down passengers that were on the same flight as my client when he first entered the US legally in the early 80s. We were lucky that he entered with a large group of family and friends, and he maintained contact with these individuals over the years. After several witnesses testified that they were on the same flight and remember my client going through Customs at the airport, the judge ruled that she believed he was lawfully admitted into the US. This was a key issue, because in order to obtain lawful permanent resident status through his marriage to a US citizen, we had to show he entered the US legally. He was not eligible for adjustment of status under INA 245i.
The second major issue was that my client had a few criminal convictions when he was younger. The most recent was twenty years ago, before he was married, and before he had children. The criminal convictions were serious enough to bar him from obtaining permanent resident status; however, a 212(h) waiver was available. In order to obtain the waiver, we had to show that it would cause his US citizen wife and children extreme hardship if he were not allowed to stay in the United States. We provided evidence of the couple’s large family, mortgage difficulties, and that the family had never visited let alone lived in the husband’s home country. We showed that the children were excellent students that expected to go to college, and without my client’s income, it would be impossible for them to obtain higher education. We included letters from employers and church leaders about my client’s good moral character to show that he had changed since the mistakes he made as a young man.
The Immigration Judge and the opposing attorney agreed that my client should be granted lawful permanent residence and the case was approved. The government attorney did not reserve appeal. My client and his family were very happy that this four year ordeal was finally resolved. If you have received a notice to appear in deportation proceedings in Los Angeles, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the options available to you.